Homeland Recap: The Choices We Make

Homeland resets after an explosive finale and a season that challenged viewer's patience.

By and + More

All season long, Greg Otto and Tierney Sneed have discussed Homeland, and spent Monday talking about what they're hoping to see in the next iteration of Showtime's hit spy drama.

Tierney: The finale was an improvement on the trainwreck that was the second half of Season 2, though we are still seeing a lot of what made Season 1 so brilliant. I find Saul's position at the end of Season 2 the most interesting. So Brody may or may not be a terrorist. (What else is new?) Carrie is aiding and abetting a terrorist, and will struggle with her love for him versus her duty to her country. (Next!) But Saul is in a completely different place than he was at the end of Season 1, or even last week's episode. For one, he believes that he smoked out Estes's mission to kill Brody (he doesn't know about the Quinn confrontation), an assassination that could have prevented the latest attack (at least as far as he knows). Secondly, he is clearly overjoyed to see that Carrie, his work-wife, has survived the attack, but will have to acknowledge the fact that if the "presumed dead" Carrie Mathison is alive and well, so too may be "the presumed dead" Nick Brody, and the two of them are behind something fishy. Does Carrie tell him the whole story? Does Saul trust her when she does?

Greg: It's really difficult for me to answer those questions, because the ending has flipped this series on its head and allowed for a myriad of possibilities in the future. But what we do have is the foundation for a third season that is more of a spy novel than we have gotten in the prior two, in that Season 3 will, at least in some way, hopefully focus on the hunt for Nicholas Brody. It sounds like the setup for a John LeCarre novel, something Executive Producer Alex Gansa has already said he aims to use as inspiration in Season 3.

More Homeland Coverage From U.S. News

The one-stop shop for superfans

12/10: Closer to Closure

12/3: Skyping With the Enemy

11/26: A Tale of 'Two Hats'

11/19: Soap Opera Spies

11/12: We're All Out in the Open

11/05: The Battle of Gettysburg

10/29: New Spy, New Lies

10/22: New Car Smell, Old Carrie Revenge

10/15: Between Rock Bottom and a Hard Place

10/08: Brody's SMS SOS

For all of the sappy plotlines, we knew going into this season that we were going to get a heavy examination of Carrie-Brody's relationship. Despite being turned off by all of the (to borrow David Estes' term) "squishy" interactions, I think the relationship does exactly what this show has always wanted it to do: make things more complicated than just "good guys v. bad guys." Now it looks like we will get a story where viewers will wrestle with the grey area of "Can a person be good and bad at the same time?"

Tierney: In some ways, Estes and Brody were on similar journeys, oscillating between "good guy" and "bad guy." There was even the parallel scenes in which both men stood in their bedrooms, looking vulnerable in their undershirts, as they were confronted by the persons who held the keys to their secrets (Quinn and Dana, respectively). That Estes was in the process of disrobing, while Brody was getting dressed may have been a hint that Estes's journey was about to come to an end, while Brody's was just beginning. Either way, I don't think it's an accident that the "good guy" characterization was explicitly applied to both characters. Though it makes for a simple plot parallel, the politics of this good guy/bad guy dynamic in Homeland have been far more complicated.

I have trouble believing that Brody's hands are really clean this time around. Season 2's finale was a clever inverse of the first: The bad guy whose plot was foiled becomes the good guy who's framed. But I am still inclined to Emily Nussbaum's theory that Brody was in on on Nazir's long con (even though she has seemed to abandon it). Why was he so enthusiastic about killing Walden if he was a good guy "forced" to do it? What about that look he gave Carrie when she said she was choosing him over her career—was it a pang of guilt about the bomb about to go off? And why were they sneaking out of the service in the first place?